The Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas trade is in danger of being voided after Thomas’ physical in Cleveland on Friday caused the Cavs to reconsider the deal. Thomas’ hip injury is what’s causing the trouble, and that’s what kept him out of the last two-and-a-half Eastern Conference Finals games against the Cavs in May.
The injury didn’t start there, though. It was the second time he aggravated a pre-existing injury that began two months earlier in a regular season game against the Timberwolves, Thomas said. He sat the next two regular season games. He hurt his hip again in Game 6 of the conference semifinals, but played through it.
The sides are allowed to renegotiate the terms of the deal, and every indication seems to be that they are doing so. Cleveland has stepped off its initial demands for one of Boston’s top young players or high future first-round picks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
But there remains a slight chance that this miscommunication details the blockbuster trade entirely. We’ll know for sure soon.
When did Thomas take the hit that cost him his playoff run?
In Game 2 against the Cavs, Thomas ran right into Love’s screen. That spelled doom for his and the Celtics’ chances at touching the Finals. Here’s the play:
That bump caused swelling in his hip, and doctors couldn’t clear him to continue to play in fear of the potential long-term effects.
What’s the actual injury called?
It’s a right femoral-acetabular impingement with labral tear, according to the NBA.
Did Thomas have surgery on his hip?
No. In late July, general manager Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe that Thomas wouldn’t need surgery and that he’d already started on-court work and cardiovascular training. Thomas and the team opted for a slower rehabilitation process rather than surgery, and Ainge said in July that he was on the court shooting, using a stationary bike and swimming.
Was there concern Thomas wouldn’t be ready to play at the start of the 2017-18 season?
Yes. Ainge said words that might come back to bite him when he mentioned Thomas’ injury was at least “some” of the reason why he traded him. He also added that Thomas might be “delayed” to start the season.
There’s even a danger that Thomas might miss the entire 2017-18 season if the recovery does not go smoothly, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. That seems unlikely, but it is a possible outcome.
Thomas himself is far less worried than others about his condition.
Did the Cavs know all of this?
Yup. When a trade call is made in the league, the teams are required to submit all players’ health information. Cleveland wasn’t initially concerned with anything, according to Wojnarowski, until Thomas came in for a physical in Cleveland on Friday.
Boston continues to believe that it has been entirely forthcoming about the severity of Thomas’ hip, but Cleveland disagrees.
So now what?
The teams have until Thursday to renegotiate the deal how they see fit. During the course of negotiations, Cleveland has lowered its asking price to a late-first or second-round pick. Though Thomas’ health status is important, the crown jewel of Boston’s package for Irving is the unprotected 2018 first-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets. That is the asset Cleveland covets most.
But if the two teams can’t agree to new terms, Boston is in for an awkward round of explanations to Thomas and Jae Crowder, and the Cavs will field 20 or more calls for Irving all over again.